Impact factors are still widely used in academic evaluations
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-04-12
"Almost half of research-intensive universities consider journal impact factors when deciding whom to promote, a survey of North American institutions has found.
About 40% of institutes with a strong focus on research mention impact factors in documents used in the review, promotion and tenure process, according to the analysis, which examined more than 800 documents across 129 institutions in the United States and Canada.
The data imply that many universities are evaluating the performance of their staff using a metric that has been widely criticized as a crude and misleading proxy for the quality of scientists’ work....
Less than one-quarter of the institutions mentioned impact factor or a closely related term such as “high impact journal” in their documents. But this proportion rose to 40% for the 57 research-intensive universities included in the survey. By contrast, just 18% of universities that focused on master’s degrees mentioned journal impact factors (see ‘High impact’).
In more than 80% of the mentions at research-heavy universities, the language in the documents encouraged the use of the impact factor in academic evaluations. Only 13% of mentions at these institutions came with any cautionary words about the metric. The language also tended to imply that high impact factors were associated with better research: 61% of the mentions portrayed the impact factor as a measure of the quality of research, for example, and 35% stated that it reflected the impact, importance or significance of the work...."